PGA Tour: US Open in the (US's) Steel City: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:56 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).The USGA stages the US Open at its favourite course, Oakmont, this week, just a few minutes outside Pittsburgh famous for its sporting Steelers, its Pirates, its Panthers and even its Penguins, who this weekend won ice hockey's Stanley Cup. Ironic then that, just as Pittsburgh, the Steel City, celebrates its latest sports championship, it should parade a Stanley Cup made in Sheffield.

2).And golf's most recent Major winner, Danny Willett, also travels from Sheffield, much more under the radar than Lord Stanley's Cup, with media attention focussed on who didn't win the Masters rather than the steely performer who kept his head to win the green jacket.

3).This will be Danny Willett's first competitive visit to Oakmont but one would think he has just the game to thrive on US Open lay-outs. Three Englishmen earned a Top Ten finish at Oakmont's 2007 US Open, led by Nick Dougherty, followed by Casey and Rose. Nick's no doubt got more desirable thoughts on his mind, but Casey and Rose are among 17 golfers here this year who made the cut nine years ago, led by Cabrera, of course, and followed by local boy Jim Furyk. Others include:
Toms & Watson (T5), Snedeker (T23), JJ Henry (T26), Hanson, McDowell & Schwartzel (T30), Westwood & Jeev Milkha (T36), Ogilvy (T42), Zach Johnson (T45), Els (the 1994 winner, T51) and Dufner (62nd).

Ryan Moore, an injured Mickelson, Donald, Kjeldsen, Garcia, Goosen, Scott & Stenson all missed the cut.

4).Ernie Els was the 1994 Champion, US Open specialist Jeff Maggert top tenned, Furyk, in his first US Open, finished T28 (tied with Nicklaus), while Mickelson also made the cut.

Lastly, Bill Haas made the Q-Finals of the 2003 US Amateur here, while JB Holmes, Hurley, Levin, McGirt and Senedker also qualified for Match Play.

5).Oakmont remains the one and only golf course designed by WC Fownes; originally farmland on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, the members lined fairways with trees which have now been almost completely removed, restored to the members' idea of its original design. The rough will be deep and the greens will be fast, lightning fast, specially greased by the USGA with every encouragement from members who will be thrilled to see the best pros embarrassed rather than merely identified.
Conventional wisdom has been that it favours a high-ball hitter. Low-ball hitting Larry Nelson took a lesson from 1953 Champ Ben Hogan as he tried to adjust his swing specially for Oakmont prior to Nelson's 1983 win.

6).The course will play about 7,250 yards, to a par of 70, approximately the same as 2007 when top ten finishes by Furyk, Toms and Verplank proved that precision and putting were as important as length off the tee. Although many of the Par-4's will be 470+ yard brutes, six are short by today's standards and straight "driving irons", and less, will be equally important as accuracy with the driver. Five over par won it in 2007 and no-one is expecting anyone to finish 72 holes under par.

7).This will be the second year of Fox TV doing the coverage and let's hope their effort is more professional and watchable than last year's (when they weren't helped by the unfamiliar moonscape of Chambers Bay).
Joe Buck was dreadful as anchor man (Will Ferrell would have been an improvement), but Greg Norman has been kicked out in favour of Paul Azinger who has transferred from ABC/espn. Zinger is articulate and perceptive, but not good at getting to know the golfers off his parochial radar. A bit like Johnny Miller then.

8).This will also be the penultimate week for European Tour golfers to qualify for The Open Championship via the "top five not otherwise qualified, but inside the Top 20 of the Race 2 Dubai". As I read it, the current leaders are Luiten, Karlberg, Soomin Lee, Hend and Beef, followed by Dredge and Wang. Beef looks like the only one playing this week - last chance will be in Germany next week.

9).Phil Mickelson has famously earned/suffered six 2nd place finishes in US Open competition and he certainly warmed up well (with, yes, another runner-up finish) in Memphis. Kuchar is making a habit of getting close in Majors and has finished Top 30 in his last six US Opens; plus he's been in terrific form over the past three months.
At Chambers Bay we saw Americans (3), Aussies (3), South Africans (3) and Irish N&S (2) fill out the top 11 finishers. Would expect a similarly cosmopolitan leaderboard this year.

10).Imagine Rory will play well again, but does Oakmont favour him with his terrific driving, or take that edge out of his hand too many times? Kaymer is playing well again without winning and Stenson is overdue a Major.
Seven Europeans finished in the leading dozen at this year's Masters; five Englishmen, led by Danny Willett of course, plus Kjeldsen (good e.w. bet?) and Rory.
No idea of a winner, probably Day or Rory if they can maintain their focus, but don't like their prices, 16's bar the "Top Three". Schwartzel has been in good form most of the year and looks a good each way shout at about 66's.
But wouldn't it be appropriate if Danny Willett brought the USGA's trophy back to Sheffield? (No, it wasn't made in Sheffield.)


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

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PGA Tour: US Open in the (US's) Steel City: Notes from the Ballwasher - Page 6 Empty Re: PGA Tour: US Open in the (US's) Steel City: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:10 pm

Make that nine.
McDowell's going to be a stay-at-home Dad.
Now for Padraig Harrington to make a decision.

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:44 pm

Christy O'Connor(s) will be in the running shortly...

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Post by hend085 on Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:07 pm

apparently Rory spent a few days unable to swing a club after getting all his jabs. dont think he would do that if his intention all along was to pull out

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Post by incontinentia on Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:53 pm

That explains his US Open performance
incontinentia
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Post by pedro on Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:00 pm

Roller_Coaster wrote:Maybe, just maybe he is being honest.

Sorry, just a thought.
Ask Wozza.

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